I’d already concluded that desktop Linux sucks, but I’m now giving up on my PVR too, because Linux hardware support sucks too. I guess the old guard device driver hackers have moved on…
I spent too much of a day (Sunday) trying to get a supported 802.11n adapter working; after much research on the various things that don’t actually fall into the definition of “supported”, I settled on a configuration that should have worked (and did work, if I turned security off). the last problem was, of all things, that the driver didn’t handle spaces in my WPA passphrase.
At least the driver had its own way of configuring security, because I couldn’t get wpa-supplicant to work at all no matter which way I configured it!
On Tuesday night the same machine dropped off the net for no diagnosable reason, after I unplugged the UPS (I wanted to test that the alarm was silenced, since this PVR is now in the bedroom). Nothing would fix it; not config changes or even a power-cycle. Then suddenly it started connecting again while I was looking for hints on the Internet.
Last fall I upgraded two machines, and Samba authentication stopped working. When these machines reboot, some services don’t start (again, for no diagnosable reason). When I upgraded the laptop, my extremely common graphics stopped working due to a known, but still unfixed driver bug. And on and on.
I give up. I will still run my Linux servers (although if samba stays broken I’m going to be increasingly frustrated), but I’m going to check out GBPVR, an open source PVR that runs on Windows. If it works for me, then the Linux PVR is going to be history. For now I’m using the HD-PVR from Rogers; while it has one of the crappiest UIs I’ve encountered, and Rogers has disabled the “only record new episodes” function, at least it works….